Three of My Favorite Paris Neighborhoods.

By Posted in - Big Trip & Europe & Featured Post & France & Paris & Travel Resources on May 27th, 2011


Did you know that Paris has 20 different neighborhoods?

They are called arrondissements and each neighborhood has it’s own special flare. While we didn’t get to visit all of them there are some that really stand out in my mind. Places I would look to visit the next time I go, places I would bring visitors if I lived there. These are some of the spots then when I close my eyes I can smell the air, feel the sunlight and hear the buzzing atmosphere. They seem quintessentially Paris to me and I loved every minute of my time in these spots.

My top three:

  • St. Germain
  • Montmartre
  • Ile St. Louis

St. Germain

Due to the my lack of planning prior to Paris I had no idea of the different arrondissements. My sister had insisted we go to St. Germain and eat a crepe but not because she had been there, only because she had done a lot of research on Paris and heard it was great. She was right.

So the first thing we did (after getting completely confused on the way to the campground and setting up our tent) was head over to St. Germain. Honestly I was totally blown away. We must have arrived at just the right time because we stumbled onto a street turned open air market and I was amazed. Really it was like truly being in another place and time. I had been to many markets in Mexico and Central America but nothing like this. Vendors were selling everything from scarves and clothing to fish & coffee. People were lounging around cafes watching the day go by. Everything was buzzing yet completely relaxing at the same time. It was fabulous. I remember feeling a bit quiet because I simply was in awe. It was like we had walked slam into the heart of Paris. The surroundings were picturesque and the people were beautiful. The best part was that we didn’t even have to try and find it. It found us and it was perfect.

There are plenty of hotels in St. Germain that will give you a great base to travel from. Yup, every day you could wake up, grab a coffee and walk the market where Picasso did all his shopping. Oh yeah – the crepes are also amazing and at around $3 – you can’t go wrong! Also be sure to check out our photo post on Paris Markets if you want to see more photos.


It’s no lie I fell head over heels for this bohemian village. Seriously I would move there in a heartbeat and not even think twice. Montmartre is the home to many amazing and famous artists (think: Modigliani, Monet, Dali, Picasso, Van Gogh) and it’s easy to see why. It’s a bit funky, elegant and eclectic at the same time. Plus the light – don’t even get me started on the light! Montmartre must be best buddies with the sun because it LOVES to hang out in Montmartre and capture every little nook and cranny in it’s golden glow. It’s easy to see why artists throughout time have gravitated to this section of Paris.

The only real regret I have (again due to lack of planning) is that we didn’t visit Montmartre until our last day in Paris and it was mostly just to see the Moulin Rouge. It only happened by accident that we decided to walk around the discovered this hamlet of Parisian awesomeness. As we found out on the metro there it is also home to the highest hill in Paris which makes for a mighty fine view of the city. There’s also a vineyard right in the middle of the streets! In a way it’s a good thing we didn’t see Montmartre until the end. I know I would’ve wanted to go back many times and would’ve missed out on other great spots.  In fact, one of our readers recently stated that because of my photos she chose a hotel in Montmartre for her upcoming trip to Paris! I’ve got a whole slew of other photos coming up of this great neighborhood as well.

Ile Saint-Louis

Did you know that Paris has an island? Well actually it has 2 – Ile de la Cite & Ile Saint-Louis. The larger of the two (Ile de la Cite) is home to the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. As we wandered around the cathedral one day we stumbled upon the second little island completely by accident.

Peaceful, charming, quaint, insert your corresponding adjective here – yup it’s all those. It’s very small but big enough to have flower markets galore, bustling ice cream shops (it’s home to the original Berthillon ice cream) and a bike rental station. To top it off the bike rental system in Paris is out of this world and it only costs a few dollars to rent for a couple hours – you can pick up and drop off wherever you like in the city! With it’s small neighborhood appeal Ile Saint-Louis is the perfect place to have a picnic, rent a bike and grab an ice cream later in the day. It kind of has that old  nostalgic feel to it that brings you back to a carefree time when you were a kid on vacation.

The lighthearted times stand right in front of you because like most of Paris, Ile Saint-Louis is no wallflower. As you walk across the bridge you are treated to an array of street performers doing anything from blowing gigantic bubbles, painting, miming, riding miniature bikes as children squeal with laughter as well as the locals riding bikes (completely with flowers in their bike baskets) and roller skating. As if it needed anything else it’s also home to great Paris hotels, trendy boutiques and killer candy shops. When we were there I saw not one, but two couples having their wedding photos taken around the island.

It’s a can’t miss spot if you’re headed to Paris and while it’s good for travelers of all ages I imagine the quirky performers and candy shops could make this an ideal location for those traveling with kids.

I highly recommend these three arrondissements to anyone visiting Paris. Personally I can’t wait to go back so I can see more of them but if you’re headed to the amazing city of light make sure you leave a lot of time just to wander around the city. We saw some famous attractions like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower but my best memories come from meandering the streets and bumping into these great neighborhoods. I sometimes beat myself up a bit because I am so bad at planning ahead of time and a lot of times I miss out on things because of it but I have to say in Paris it helped! You really don’t need much of an itinerary to enjoy Paris you just need to get there – Paris will show you everything you need to see.

P.S. If you’re there now one of my favorite bands, Fleet Foxes, is playing at Bataclan on May 30th! In fact I was listening to their song Tiger Mountain Peasant Song while I wrote this post. I would love to see them in Paris – if you go, let me know please!

*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of, & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you want to use one of them please contact me first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!

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(22) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Nancy -

    May 27, 2011 at 7:06 am

    Great post! I love all of those neighborhoods, especially St Germain! I have recently fallen in love with the area around the Canal St Martin, too. It is beautiful there!

    • Bethany -

      May 27, 2011 at 7:50 pm

      Yes, St. Germain is a gem! I’ll have to check out Canal St. Martin when i go next time! @Nancy,

  • Nomadic Chick -

    May 27, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Beautiful descriptions of each neighbourhood. I hope I am in love with Paris as much as you are. Again, stunning photos. As always. 🙂

    • Bethany -

      May 27, 2011 at 7:51 pm

      You know I didn’t even really care about going to Paris. I never had a real urge but then we went there and I thought I died and went to heaven. It’s just beautiful. I’m sure you going to love it. I think it’s my favorite city in the world. @Nomadic Chick,

  • Megan -

    May 27, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    I love the Ile St Louis too – it’s a completely different world! So serene.

    • Bethany -

      May 27, 2011 at 7:51 pm

      I know right? It’s like when you walk over the bridge everything just changes!@Megan,

  • Christine -

    May 28, 2011 at 5:46 am

    Just booked accomodations in Ile St. Louis today! So happy to see it’s the favorite of many in Paris. Seeing your gorgeous photos makes me even more excited for the trip!

    • Bethany -

      May 28, 2011 at 9:43 am

      Oh awesome! That place is SOOOO cute! and the location is perfect – right in the middle of everything. I can’t wait to hear about it. When are you going?@Christine,

  • Steph -

    May 29, 2011 at 11:15 am

    *sigh* I do love Paris. Big cities like this are great because there’s so much to explore and each area is so much different from the next. London, New York… they’re the same, but there is something about Paris….

    • Bethany -

      May 30, 2011 at 8:19 am

      Yup, you’re right. there is just something about Paris! Thanks for commenting!@Steph,

  • Susan -

    June 5, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I just stayed on Ile Saint Louis and here’s the link to a post I wrote about it. Great spot. Lots of people don’t know about it. I also like the Marais. It’s really fun.

    • Bethany -

      June 6, 2011 at 6:08 pm

      I read your post – it sounds like you had a great time. I would love to rent an apartment there. I really wanted to see the Marais but never got there. It is TOP of my list when I return. I signed up for your feed too. 🙂@Susan,

  • Sophie -

    June 17, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Paris is a favourite of mine as well. Adore stumbling around Ile St Louis, peeking into all the curious little shops and of course having a yummy Berthillon ice cream. I also like the Marais, quite like Quartier Latin and St Germain, but not so busy 🙂

    • Bethany -

      June 17, 2011 at 6:33 am

      I really wanted to make it to Marais and was so bummed that we missed it. I’ve only heard good things about it! I agree – the Latin Quarter is also fantastic!@Sophie,

  • Andrea -

    June 17, 2011 at 8:07 am

    We lived on both the left and right banks in Paris and really got to know the city. Montmartre was such an incredible place to live. The best thing about Paris is that no matter where you are, the metro is cheap and efficient for getting around so you’re never far from the rest of the city. We’d live there again in a second.

  • Emily -

    June 20, 2011 at 5:55 am

    I love, love, LOVE Montmartre! The atmosphere there is so wonderful. Andrea is right… the best part of Paris is that the metro makes it so easy to get around so you can experience the joy of it all instead of just a bit 🙂

  • Mara -

    July 15, 2011 at 5:18 am

    I think we have the same favorite hangouts! How cool is that?

    I love the Left Bank inordinately, unreasonably, and in the most corny way possible.

    • Bethany -

      July 16, 2011 at 7:29 pm

      Oh how I would love to be a local and spend more time in those spots! Paris just doesn’t stop does it? It’s like every place you visit is better than the next!


  • Nancie -

    September 5, 2011 at 2:13 am

    Beautiful shots. I spent an Easter weekend in Paris once. Time to go back and stay much longer than a weekend.

  • Susan J. Smtih -

    February 3, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    These are three terrific neighborhoods…….but I love the Marais. To read why, go to this link

    Don’t miss it.

  • Marysia @ My Travel Affairs -

    May 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    I love Montmarte! Even though I very often visit Paris I kind of forget about it, next visit 🙂

  • Lucy | gapyeardotcom -

    June 7, 2013 at 3:03 am

    Beautifully detailed descriptions of the neighbourhoods. I absolutely adore Paris and now you have made me start planning my next trip!

    I think after your write up i will stat in St.Germain this time around 🙂